Don't lose control
You don’t have to be drunk to be affected by alcohol. You might feel normal but no one drives well after drinking alcohol.
Drink driving is a factor in about one in every five crashes in NSW where someone loses their life. Of the drink drivers who were killed in the five-year period from 2008 to 2012, 89 per cent were men and 66 per cent were under the age of 40.
The effects of alcohol are wide ranging and impossible to avoid. After a big night out you may still have alcohol in your system for much of the next day. Alcohol is a depressant and:
- Slows your brain so that you can’t respond to situations, make decisions or react quickly
- Reduces your ability to judge how fast you are moving or your distance from other cars, people or objects
- Gives you a false sense of confidence – you may take greater risks, thinking that your driving is better than it really is
- Makes it harder to do more than one thing at a time – while you concentrate on steering, you could miss seeing traffic lights, cars entering from side streets or pedestrians
- Affects your sense of balance – a big risk if you ride a motorcycle
- Makes you drowsy – you could fall asleep at the wheel
Alcohol and energy drinks
Mixing alcohol with energy drinks is dangerous. Alcohol is a depressant and the caffeine in energy drinks is a stimulant – mix them too much and your body cannot cope.
Energy drinks can mask the effects of alcohol, as the caffeine makes you feel more alert. You may be drunk without realising it. Your blood alcohol concentration does not change if you drink energy drinks, even though you may feel like it’s lower.
Never drive if you’ve had alcohol mixed with an energy drink. Try to plan ahead and use other ways of getting home safely.
Drinking while driving
It is illegal for you to drink alcohol while you are driving, even if your blood alcohol concentration stays below your legal limit.
If you've been drinking, walking home is a better choice than driving. However, you are a vulnerable pedestrian and need to take extra care as alcohol affects your judgement and movement.